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Social media marketing helped Rogue One at the box office

StarWars

Rogue One made $290 million worldwide thanks in part to social media marketing

With the help of some robust and varied social marketing campaigns, Rogue One, the first standalone Star Wars film, rocketed to number one in the box office.

While its popularity was all-but guaranteed giving the popularity of the franchise, a strong social marketing campaign helped boost ticket sales even higher. Notably, Lucasfilm opted for some high-profile partnerships with popular social media platforms.

"Many of our influencers are big fans of the Star Wars franchise,” said Steve Smith, CEO of SharkReach, one of the marketing companies that worked on the Rogue One campaign. “SharkReach facilitated their screening of Rogue One and further engaged those who were most enthusiastic to share exclusive clips to help drive excitement across all their social platforms. 

Social media
Rogue One was a notable departure from standard Star Wars films in a number of ways. Thematically, the film was much darker, did not focus on any of the central characters and even bucked inextricable Star Wars trends such as the iconic opening crawl.

Despite these differences the film still managed to gross $290 million worldwide.

But in addition to these thematic differences, Rogue One is also the second film – after last year’s The Force Awakens – in the series to be released in the modern era of social media and mobile devices dominating the digital landscape.


For that reason, these two Star Wars films had an advantage that the most recent Star Wars movie before them – 2006’s Revenge of the Sith – did not. That advantage is the power of social media for organic and widespread marketing campaigns.

One of the major ways that Rogue One took advantage of social media was with the use of social media influencers to help spread the branding message and raise awareness and excitement for the film.

“Influencer marketing continues to be a high growth core business unit of SharkReach,” Mr. Smith said. “We are also aggressively increasing our digital marketing capabilities portfolio to include digital creative through our recently acquired subsidiary Mastermind Involvement Marketing and expansion into Gamification.”

Live streaming
Rogue One also benefitted from a unique partnership with Twitter that resulted in a number of promotional items that made use of the Twitter format.

For example, promoted hashtags are a common marketing tactic, letting brands pay to have a hashtag boosted in popularity. Rogue One, however, made use of a new feature from Twitter that allows promoted hashtags to have custom emojis appear next to them whenever they are tweeted.


When Twitter users tweeted #RogueOne, a small Death Star would appear next to it.

Twitter also live streamed multiple events leading up to the release of Rogue One including interviews with the cast and crew of the film (see story).

Overall, these strategies helped Rogue One drive up ticket sales and to bring in the valuable younger generation who are the most savvy with mobile and social media and are a particular prize for marketers of all industries.

“Our focus is squarely on 'Generation Social', which is the heart of today's entertainment industry's marketing strategies," Mr. Smith said.

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Danny Parisi is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach him at danny@napean.com.

 
Related content: Social networks, mobile, mobile marketing, rogue one, twitter, social media

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